Yikes! Where did the time go?

‘Regular’ ‘readers’ of this ‘blog’ would be excused for thinking that I’d fallen under a bus, given the absolute lack of any kind of update for over a month now. But the contrary is true: far from having fallen under a bus, I’m actually – ah, whatever.

The truth is, I haven’t had a whole lot to blog about recently. My new job has occupied a lot of my time, as has socialising with colleagues from said job and, when it comes down to it, who wants to hear how many Jäger shots I’ve had in the last thirty days?

‘And yet’. (I’ll explain the significance of this phrase one day). To answer the question posed by Big Star in the title of their song ‘What’s going ahn?’, I can say the following:

(1) I’ve had an academic article published

Hot on the heels of my post-doc research at BTH in Karlskrona, I’m excited to say that ‘Flash points: Reading electronic literature as a metaphor for creativity’ (PDF), an article I co-wrote with Maria Engberg, has now been published in the latest issue of TEXT Journal. To be exact, it’s a part of a special issue entitled Creativity: Cognitive, social and cultural perspectives, edited by Nigel McLoughlin and Donna Lee Brien. So that’s untold.

(2) I’ve presented a paper in Bristol on the subject of myself. Or, um …

A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Bristol, UK for the final ELMCIP seminar, on the subject of E-literature in/with Performance. I presented a paper entitled Davey Dreamnation and the Performance of Self. Here’s the abstract:

Since 2002 I have maintained a series of personal websites (now amalgamated into one website: daveydreamnation.com) that explore questions of personal identity and performativity through the character of Davey Dreamnation, a failed rockstar and comic alter-ego. The performance of this character (what could be described as a form of avatarism) brings with it various notions of play, irony and humour that are not necessarily often associated with the performance of electronic literature. This presentation seeks to engage with notions of performance of the self with reference to (and critical appraisal of) theoretical notions of performance as expounded by Butler and others. The performance of character in an online space which is heavily mediated by its form (that is, the blog format and its attendant proprietary structures and limitations) raises questions about human interaction with personal websites ‘performing’ as actors in their own right – that is, as co-creators, the performance of which influences other users’ readings of character and identity. This presentation will offer a glimpse into the workings of one such character, with reference to archived screenshots, audio files, text extracts and character analysis, with the aim of offering a humorous yet serious examination of the playfulness of online performativity. The presentation will also take into account and address some of the issues raised in the call for papers, specifically the usefulness of performance studies in blog environments. Finally, both the presentation and the accompanying paper will seek to offer themselves as examples of performance writing about electronic literature.

And here’s a pic of me and Davey during the delivery of the paper:

(3) My poem Övergången has been ‘analysed’ online …

THis is kind of nice. William Fox, who tweets as @readism and who once ran a Tumblr of the same name, has written an entry analysing my poem Övergången, from the chapbook of the same name. Have at it:

The authoritative voice works well because it gets at how confidently we can trace the narrative of our social successes these days. It’s therefore no surprise that the poem hits the ground running – the opening line is in dactyls that are promptly broken up by a line break & the more awkward phrase ‘very quickly now’. The smoothness of my own commute is always determined by the extent to which I don’t think about how quickly I want to get it over & done with. On a tram / train this is easily achieved. I think this ‘transition’ is a special case because the poet’s probably walking the streets after dark (‘It’s already too late to plead…’) & more than likely through a city. This makes casual & indifferent mannerisms even more imperative, if only to avoid getting the shit kicked out yourself. It also makes you yearn for the ‘ignorance’ of non-self-consciousness, or to be a ‘special case’ (i.e. to be so deliriously shitfaced that you don’t care if people laugh at you).

Read the rest on your own [unfortunately no longer online].

K. So, that’s not bad: three cool things have happened. And here’s three more cool things that are destined to happen at some stage in the future:

(4) My poem ‘Wireless’ is going to be published in Overland

Not much I can say about this right now, except that I’m rather chuffed that Overland poetry ed. peter Minter has chosen this poem for inclusion in that erstwhile journal of the progressive left in Australia. Wireless first appeared on my blog last year. But don’t let that stop you from checking out Overland’s cool new website.

(5) ‘Clouds Afternoon Jazz Sprinkles’ finds a home … of sorts

My poem ‘Clouds Afternoon Jazz Sprinkles’, dedicated to poet Jill Jones, will be appearing soon as part of a special project. And that’s all I’m saying for now.

(6) I’ll be giving a paper at the ELO conference in June

No, not that ELO. I mean the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) conference, Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints, which is taking place June 20-23 in Morgantown, WV, US of A. My paper, whose semi-absurd title is “Why ‘But is it e-lit?’ is a ridiculous question: the case for online journals as organic, evolving works of digital literature”, will be part of a panel called Practices: Definitions and Pedagogies for E-Lit, and will be delivered at the godless hour of 8:30am on Saturday 23 June. Here’s the abstract:

Cordite Poetry Review (http://cordite.org.au), an Australian journal of poetry and poetics, was founded in 1997 as a print journal but since 2001 has appeared only online. Over the last ten years, as the magazine has grown in size and reach, the question of Cordite’s status as a journal has become more vexed. Can it be regarded as a ‘proper’ literary journal, in the way that other, offline journals are? Is it truly electronic, given the relative absence of works on the site that explore the possibilities of the online space? Or are these merely ridiculous questions, the posing of which reflects a pre-online hierarchy of prestige? Why do these questions exist in the first place? If we assume that any work or collection of works available online is automatically digital in nature, then the issue instead becomes one of whether or not sites like Cordite function as organic, interconnected and hypertextual spaces for creative expression. The inclusion of electronic literature works in the magazine for the first time in 2011 brought into focus the problematic nature of categorization. This presentation will explore the evolving nature of the Cordite site in order to demonstrate the highly complex and sometimes chaotic nature of journals and magazines in the online realm, and to therefore argue for a rejection of the binary characterization of new media literature communities as either ‘electronic’ or ‘static’. In doing so, it is hoped that the presentation will stimulate discussion of the ways in which electronic sites for literature embody the contradictory capacities to organically evolve, mutate and disappear.

I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow-panellists Clara Fernandez-Vara (whose paper is entitled “Electronic Literature for All: Performance in Exhibits and Public Readings”), and Alexandra Saemmer (“The (problematic) issue to evaluate literariness: Digital literature between legitimation and canonization”). I’m also just looking forward to being in a seriously hot and humid place this summer!

So, that’s all for now. Maybe I’ll see you again in a month or so when I’ve got some more news.

KFXBAI.

The cover image for Cordite Poetry Review 36: Electronica (2011), by Maxine Clarke

Cordite 36: Electronica

I’m a bit behind the eight-ball here, but all the same it’s a real thrill to announce that Cordite 36: Electronica is now online!

The issue contains more poetry and poetics than you can poke a stick at. Here’s a run-down:

Contributors:

Gemma Mahadeo, Paul Giles, w.m.lewis, michael farrell, Kevin Gillam, Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers, Christopher Brew, Mark O’Flynn, Anne Gorrick, Misbah Khokhar, Angela Gardner, Greg McLaren, Mark Young, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Derek Motion, Jessica Wilkinson, Stuart Cooke, Helen Symonds, Joyce Parkes, Sam Langer, Rory Dufficy, Derek Rawson, Gregory Horne, Jenny Powell, Chris Oakey, Louise Molloy, Jessica Bell, Phillip A. Ellis, Eddie Paterson, Joanne Merriam, Christina Armstrong, Susan Adams, Sean M. Whelan and Isnod, komninos, Philip Norton, Pascalle Burton, Emilie Collyer, Mark William Jackson, Ian Gibbins, Jason Nelson, Konrad McCarthy, Joshua Mei-Ling Dubrau, Benjamin Laird, Maxine Clarke, Gareth Jenkins, Crixus, Jamison C. Lee, Sara Moss, Adam Fieled, Bev Braune, Sally Evans, Tim Wright, Alice Melike Ülgezer, David McCooey and Joseph Baron-Pravda.

From Jill Jones’ editorial:

Music can be read, obviously. It has its own visual patterns in composed forms, and in the 20th century musical notation has extended from common staff notation or tablatures, to other forms of graphic notation. The poem on the page also has its patterns, greatly enhanced by the digitisation of typographical design in the late 20th century. Sure, the Dada crowd were having fun with type a way back, not to forget our old friend, Mallarme. But the digital moves it onto other levels, layers and means of access.

I’m also happy to say I’ve got a couple or three pieces in the issue, the first of which is Tiny Steps: the Electr(on)ification of Cordite, a reflection on what it means to be ‘electronic’ or not when it comes to online poetry journals.

In addition, and as a reflection of my time spent this year working as part of the ELMCIP project, I’ve published an interview with Maria Engberg and an interview with Talan Memmott. Maria and Talan are my colleagues at BTH in Karlskrona, and it was great of them to spare some time to chat about all things e-lit.

Invitation to a lecture …

Invitation to: Public Lecture and Poetry Reading: organized by BTH Department of Culture and Communication and the EU-Art Line Project

You are invited to attend the following public lecture and poetry reading sponsored by the Art Line project, Digital Art Platform Initiative, and organized by the BTH Department of Culture and Communication.

Lecture Title: “Bonfire of the Vanity Presses – Publishing and Self-Publishing in the Field of Poetry,” presented by David Prater, Ph.D. (Post-Doctoral Researcher, BTH, Department of Culture and Communication)
Date: Nov 16, 2011, 15.15-17.00
Room: C413A
BTH, Campus Gräsvik (Karlskrona, Sweden)

This lecture will be based on Dr. Prater’s PH.D. thesis, entitled “Bonfire of the Vanity Presses: Self-Publishing in the Field of Australian Poetry.” The presentation will examine examples of Dr. Prater’s self-published poetry chapbooks and will discuss issues of authorization and reputation raised by the confusion between ‘vanity publishing’ and ‘self-publishing’ as cultural practices. While the thesis does not specifically address the place of digital self-expression within the cultural field, the lecture will offer a chance to discuss the impact of electronic writing on the literary field and on literary arts in the current age of digitalization. Examples of Dr. Prater’s self-published books will be available for viewing during the lecture, which will also incorporate readings from these works.

This lecture is organized by BTH researchers in the Department of Culture and Communication and in the Digital Art Platform initiative within the EU-funded project Art Line. Art Line is an International cooperation between the academy, cultural institutions and tourism within the Southern Baltic region to explore art innovation in physical and digital space. The Digital Art Platform seeks to research, promote, and publish art and creative critical practices informed by developing media phenomena, technology, and artistic expressions.

About David Prater:

David Prater was born in Australia in 1972. He holds a BA from the University of Sydney, an MA from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. His first poetry collection, We Will Disappear, was published by papertiger media in 2007, and Vagabond Press published his chapbook Morgenland in the same year. His poetry has appeared in a wide range of Australian and international journals, and he has performed his work at festivals in Australia, Japan, Bulgaria, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Macedonia. He has also undertaken two writers’ residencies in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and has worked extensively as a teacher, editor and researcher. Since 2001 he has been the managing editor of Cordite Poetry Review, an online journal of Australian poetry and poetics. He is currently undertaking post-doctoral research on electronic literature and pedagogy at Blekinge Tekniska Högskola as part of the Electronic Literature as a Model of Creative Practice (ELMCIP) project.

For more information about the lecture/reading, contact: Lissa Holloway-Attaway, Senior Lecturer at BTH (lat@bth.se) or Aje Björkman, Information Officer at Art Line (aje.bjorkman@artline-southbaltic.eu)

Cabaret Voltage: Intermission

While I’m in a video posting mood, here’s a performance piece by Talan Memmott and Eric Snodgrass at Cabaret Voltage, an evening of electronic literature performances held as part of our ELMCIP workshop in Karlskrona in June.

Notable, if you ask me, for my own performance as the chess-playing maniac centre stage and that special moment, at 8:25, when I throw a chess piece at Eric’s head, only narrowly missing him.

Sit back and enjoy. It doesn’t get much weirder than this.

Interrogating Electronic Literature

The footage for this video was taken during the ELMCIP workshop on electronic literature and new media held in Ljubljana, Slovenia last week. The film is made up of a series of edited interviews with e-lit practitioners and academics including J. R. Carpenter, John Cayley, Maria Mencia, Scott Rettberg, Alexandra Saemmer, Roberto Simanowski and Jaka Železnikar. It was directed by Talan Memmott and also features cameos of yours truly reciting three of the shortest poems I’ve ever written. Enjoy.